‘Good enough for Stephen Harper. Good enough for you.”
If Darrell Pasloski’s campaign to succeed Premier Dennis Fentie had a snappy slogan, that might be it.
The 50-year-old pharmacist carried the Conservative banner during the 2008 federal election. Now he wants to be premier.
During this campaign, he’s happily traded off his connections with Canada’s new Conservative majority government. He’s met the prime minister on several occasions.
And Pasloski claims he helped persuade Ottawa to fork over $71 million to expand the Mayo hydroelectric facilities and unify Yukon’s energy grids – an announcement made while he was a federal candidate.
This week, Pasloski was endorsed by Brad Cathers, the Yukon Party’s member for Lake Laberge. That could carry a lot of votes when the party votes on May 28.
After all, Cathers nearly dethroned Fentie during the party’s annual meeting one year ago. Fentie only staved off the insurrection by promising the leadership race currently underway.
Cathers sits as an independent after quitting cabinet during a noisy falling out with Fentie over the ATCO energy privatization scandal. Pasloski vows to bring Cathers back into the Yukon Party fold and mend party divisions.
“Darrell is a problem solver,” said Cathers. “He’s a hard worker. And he listens to good ideas and advice wherever they come from. I believe Darrell is the right man for the job.”
Pasloski has also been endorsed by Rob McIntyre. He’s a founding member of the Yukon Party, former president of the Yukon’s chamber of mines and chamber of commerce, and ex-VP of Alexco Resources.
To demonstrate his loyalty to miners, Pasloski vowed to not meddle with the Yukon’s free-entry system of staking claims. And he’ll negotiate a better devolution deal with Ottawa, so the territory keeps a larger share of mining royalties.
Pasloski would also try to persuade Ottawa to keep sending additional cash to prop up Yukon’s health-care system. On that point, it would be hard to find a politician of any stripe who would disagree with him.
Beyond these pronouncements, it’s hard to pry concrete details from Pasloski on how he would solve Yukon’s challenges.
Though a fiscal conservative, he won’t rule out running deficits. Pasloski won’t even admit Fentie has run up consecutive deficits, much like Fentie himself.
He vows more money for social programs, but he won’t specify which ones.
He muses about vast pools of natural gas beneath Eagle Plains, but wants to consult experts before suggesting a solution to Yukon’s impending energy crunch.
The draft plan to protect four-fifths of the Peel Watershed “goes too far,” but Pasloski won’t give any specifics on what he thinks is the appropriate balance between mining and conservation.
“I don’t think we can start arbitrarily tapping numbers.”
To prepare for the mining boom, he’d boost spending to enforce existing regulations.
He won’t delve into ATV regulation. “I haven’t been fully briefed. I need to have a better understanding.”
This blandness could be his biggest advantage.
Jim Kenyon must persuade Yukon Party voters he’s not damaged goods, after being entangled in Fentie’s scandals.
Rod Taylor must convince party faithful he’s a team player, when, not long ago, he blasted the government for not doing enough to protect the Peel Watershed.
Pasloski, it seems, just needs to avoid making any big mistakes.
He’s run a more open campaign than the 2008 federal election. That’s to say he now actually speaks to reporters. But, when asked a question, his eyes still occasionally light up in alarm, as if he’s worried he’ll be bitten.
His scripted speeches are heavy on buzzwords. To wit: “It takes a team to run a government and that is my leadership style – I’m a team leader and a team builder. I will be taking a collaborative Team Yukon approach to leadership.”
Hardly exciting stuff. But if the Yukon Party wants a blemish-free candidate, Pasloski’s the closest fit.
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